Monday, March 2, 2015

Checking in for 2015

Hello blog! I haven't forgotten about you, but 2015 has been insanely busy with work so I haven't had much time or energy to create meaningful posts this year. Hopefully things will change soon!

There's a few blog posts that I want to get up this year, including something I'm most excited about right now - photographing the Northern Lights! On a recent trip to Iceland, I got super lucky with great weather conditions and high levels of activity and caught some life-changing images on camera.

Hope to share that with you much much more very soon!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Clean Creamy Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna

I was browsing through the CLEAN blog for some new recipes to broaden my horizons and this one was practically screaming at me.
Creamy Spinach Mushroom Lasagna!!!

Is this really a cleanse or am I just eating healthier? The deliciousness of this recipe really blurs that line. Being on a cleanse sounds like you should be depriving yourself, but every creamy bite of this lasagna will tell you otherwise.

Like all lasagnas, this one is a bit of a pain to make if you are not into cooking. It takes time, but there is something therapeutic about preparing all the different layers and then putting it together to make one cohesive dish. Plus, this will basically last you 3-4 days of clean meals if you aren't sharing (aka only cooking for yourself). Not sure if you see this as a plus or a minus, but I was more than happy to accept that I had a delicious lunch/dinner waiting for me in the fridge for a few days.
Now, I would like to pretend that I didn't struggle through this seemingly easy recipe but where's the fun in that? Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes :)

Friday, January 2, 2015

NYC: Degustation for New Year's Eve Dinner

Happy New Year! Hope you had a chance to ring in the New Year with the ones you love. In the new year, I'm trying something new on the blog - I'm calling it Foodie Fridays. This means that every Friday, I'll be featuring a new restaurant for you to check out around NYC. Hold me to this promise!!

I can't think of a single thing that I've eaten in 2014 that deserves to be on the first edition of Foodie Friday more than this amazing Seared Foie Gras and Cauliflower Ice Cream dessert at Degustation. It's truly something special.

Degustation is a open-counter concept in East Village that serves a fusion of Iberian (Spanish), French and American cuisine. It's been on the top of my list of places to try, so when we found out they offered a special tasting menu on New Year's Eve, we had to score a reservation.

(Not partying for New Year's Eve? I'm really starting to show my age right? Hehe.)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

10 Things I Want to Accomplish in 2014: An Update!

With the new year just a few days away, I wanted to take a look at the 10 Things I Want to Accomplish in 2014. It's easy to keep thinking about things that you can do better in the new year, but it's great to take a moment to acknowledge how you've come. Goals can shift in 365 days, so let's see what actually happened with Shelly in Real Life this year. ;)

1. Be able to do at least 10 push-ups on my toes, hopefully 20 - I know, I have no upper body strength!
OMG, so I literally just got off my couch to try to do 10 good-ish push ups on my toes. I did it!!! I'm red in the face, slightly out of breath, but I was able to do it with elbows bent and all. My pushups last year was like planks that dipped a little, if you can imagine (weak sauce for sure). Still not up to 20 yet, but getting there!

2. Finish all 70 of my iLoveKickboxing classes in Manhattan.
Been really focused on other workouts (explained in #3) the last half of this year so I haven't really gotten around to this. I want to finish these classes before I move away from NYC for sure.

3. Integrate more weight-training into my workout routine. Must research more about lifting!
This is where I feel like I excelled the most this year. I actually avoided this for the first part of the year, but after I returned from my trip to Italy, I saw Alyse's new program she set up on her BiteSizedFitness Instagram account and it really inspired me to get started.

Before this, I would look through different lifting programs on and it just intimidated the crap out of me. Something about Alyse's animal print workout sheets and army of fellow ladies starting to lift made me feel like I was in a "safe zone". It's truly what inspired me this year, and I can't thank her enough!! 

Here's 2 posts that I wrote about this:

After finishing off the 12 week program of lifting, I felt much more confident around the lifting area, squat rack and much more. Honestly couldn't have done this any other way. Nowadays, I've shifted the focus of my workout. Doing this program made me realize that I'm someone who thrives when having programs clearly outlined for me (I guess I should have known that from doing the CLEAN Cleanse).

So, following this, I am starting to do the Bikini Body Guide workout by Kayla Itsines along with a shorter lifting program called StrongLifts 5x5. I'm doing this in addition to 2 spin classes a week (reduced from 3-4 a week!) so that I can dedicate myself to diversifying my workouts.

As of today, I'm lifting the following:
  • Squats - 85 lbs 
  • Bench Press - 70 lbs
  • Deadlift - 115 lbs
  • Overhead Press - 45 lbs
  • Barbell Row - 65 lbs
This is starting from someone who started by bench pressing 30 lbs and squatting 25 lbs just 6 months ago. Needless to say, I'm very proud of myself for the progress I've made so far, and SO thankful for all the Fitness Instagrams I've followed this year that has inspired and motivated me! Can't wait to make new fitness goals for 2015!!!

Cooking & Dining

4. Make Cashew Cream Cheese and replicate Quintessence's Scallion Cheese Roll.
Learned the ins and outs of making Vegan Cashew Foods (Ricotta, Cream Cheese, Mayo, Cashew Milk), but still haven't gotten around to making the Scallion Cheese Roll. I will have to do this one!!!

5. Try 20 different soup and smoothie recipes with my new Vitamix - Yes, I'm finally upgrading my $15 blender which is now only $10 on Amazon!
Not quite the 20 recipes that I originally anticipated when I first set out on this journey. My proudest is conquering Cashew Cheese. Would love some recipes with my Vitamix if anyone has any they want to share!

P.S. setting this goal made me realize that my 2015 goals should be more defined, so instead of saying make 20 recipes, maybe pinpoint which 20 I should try.

6. Make a soufflĂ©. This seems to be the ultimate challenge on so many cooking shows!
Didn't do this one, still curious. 2015 maybe?

7. Dinner at Le Bernardin. Also make a NYC bucket list and complete it.
Had dinner at Le Bernardin (yum!) and made a NYC bucket list that I'm working on completing!


8. Find a happier medium between healthy and "unhealthy" lifestyle in real life & on the blog. I would love to practice a 70/30 rule between fitness & indulgence.
Not really sure where I am on this one and continue to feel conflicted between my health-ish and not so healthy lifestyle...

9. Be a more consistent blogger and update blog with 2-3 posts a week. 
Taking a note from #5, instead of putting out a number like this, might have to try to make more solid plans on how I would try to accomplish this instead of just having an idea that I want to do it.

10. Write more about my travels (finish South America, Europe, Austin and Boston). 
Did a pretty decently job writing my Best Bites of Italy series, but there's a ton more up my sleeves that I want to write about. Will have to try to combine my being a more consistent blogger with writing my travels in a set schedule.

And if you've made it this far to the bottom of my post, thank you! I'd love to hear about what you'd like to see more of from my blog in 2015! After all, if not for you, then I'm just writing to web robots crawling my page. :)

Friday, December 26, 2014

Analysis Paralysis: stop overthinking and just do it!

Happy Holidays everyone! I've been a little MIA for the past few weeks because holiday parties, shopping, Clash of Clans (haha, nerdy but true), visitors, etc etc. But truthfully, I've also just been in a bit of a blogging rut and have been feeling lazy.

When you stop doing something, it's so much easier to continue to just stop doing it. Some of my laziness has turned into guilt. I've been thinking a lot about writing something for the past week but haven't really just settled on anything exciting to blog about. I've been trying to come up with something that felt "holiday appropriate" but once again, nada. Overall, I feel like I've become paralyzed from overthinking it. I believe the scientific term for it is analysis paralysis.

Have you ever had that happen to you? You hesitate to do something because you keep overthinking it and just want it to be perfect. Then that hesitation just turns into nothing because let's face it, it's soooo much easier to do nothing than SOMETHING.

So this is me, doing something instead of nothing. I'm hoping this can help break the ice a little and just get my blogging wheels turning once more. I hope you can take something away from this little activity of mine.

If there's something that you've been wanting to do (and I KNOWWWW new years resolutions is right around the corner), stop thinking about doing it and just do it! No matter how small of a step you're doing, just do something to help you get closer to what you want to do. It doesn't have to be 100% right away. Break the ice. Work your way up to it!

I'll be working on a wrap-up to my 10 Things I Want to Accomplish in 2014 post, and thinking of new goals to set for the year to come. Until then, I hope you've continue to enjoy the holiday season and that you have a relaxing and rejuvenating winter break.